Chinese Wingnut

Pterocarya stenoptera - Chinese Wingnut

Family - Juglandaceae

Size - 40 to 50 feet in height with a spread equal to or greater than height. Fast growing, 3' or more per year. Ed Gilman says that a 6 year old tree in Raleigh, NC. is 25 feet tall and wide with a 14" diameter trunk. I can totally believe this. A tree grown from seed in April, 1992 is now 6" caliper and approximately 18 feet in height in June, 1997. The largest Wingnut I've seen from which I collected seed is in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky. It is a massive tree with large, low slung limbs near the base. The Wingnut in Cave Hill has been identified as Caucasian Wingnut (P. fraxinifolia) for many years. After close observation and elimination, I've determined that the label is wrong. It is in fact Chinese Wingnut. There are definitely wings on the rachis of the leaves. And according to the University of British Columbia boitany and arboretum, they are absent on fraxinifolia. This is one separating trait between the two. I returned to Cave Hill in June, 2003 to see the Wingnut. It is in a decling stage and needs some attention. Wingnut 2003 Trunk and limbs

Foliage - Alternate, pinnately compound. Dark glossy green in summer. Fall color is yellow-green, negligible.

Flower/Fruit/Seed - Winged nutlets, hence the name. A seed literally looks like a "wingnut". Approximately 3/4" in diameter, suspended in long, stringed, spikes from the tree. Ripen in the Fall and turn tan in color.

Bark -

Pests and Diseases - Very problem free.

Landscape Use - Although it's ornamental features are limited it does have a use as a shade tree for the large property only. Can be integrated in to golf courses, campuses, office parks, or municipal parks. It gets to some size and provides shade quickly. Has definite use as a recovery tree after natural disasters in order to revegetate an area quickly. In spite of extraordinary fast growth, it is strong wooded and not prone to breakage. Very little known. Supposedly can endure soil compaction quite well. Has a very aggressive root sytem and needs space to accomodate it. Street tree usage is questionable, at least anywhere where it doesn't have at least 10 feet between the root system and a curb or sidewalk. Tends to grow as a multiple trunked tree, but can be pruned to a single trunk if diligent pruning is applied for the first 5 years. (My question is can the average nursery transplant it after 5 years considering the growth that is acheived in such a short time?) Tolerant of drought, and different soil types.

Performance - 7 Hardy to zone 5, could be used in to zone 8 possibly 9. Native to China. Found along streams and river banks in it's native habitat, and there makes it's best growth.

Chinese Wingnut

Chinese Wingnut

Chinese Wingnut trunk

Chinese Wingnut foliage

Chinese Wingnut seeds